Inflammation has gotten a bad rep over recent years. You’ve seen it everywhere. However, is inflammation really that bad?
The answer is that inflammation is not bad per se.
It’s our immune system’s first line of defense; our body’s natural response to injuries and infections.
Inflammation helps your body tackle the problem fast, after which inflammation levels return to baseline.
The problem lies in chronic, low-grade inflammation. This type of inflammation is what plagues modern society. When inflammation doesn’t stop, it starts breaking down healthy body tissues. It can lead to various diseases, including arthritis, joint pain, brain fog, depression, sinusitis, and leaky gut, among others.
If you’re suffering from this low-grade, ongoing inflammation, you will want to look into natural ways of getting it under control. One of those includes adding anti-inflammatory foods and supplements into your daily routine.
Today we’re going to talk about withanolides and how they affect inflammation in the body, whether they can help you with inflammation, and other important things to know.
What are Withanolides?
Withanolides are natural plant compounds found in different herbs, most notably in Ashwagandha, an Ayurvedic herb (also known as Indian Winter cheery, or Withania somnifera). Withanolides are natural plant compounds that have been found to have significant effects on the immune system, cardiovascular system, and central nervous system. They possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumor, and immunomodulatory properties. 
This brings up the question; how do withanolides affect inflammation?
Withanolides and Inflammation
Since withanolides are anti-inflammatory by nature, they can help to lower different manifestations of chronic inflammation such as gout, arthritis, leaky gut, sinus congestion, and ADHD.
But how do withanolides fight inflammation exactly? It’s by targeting crucial inflammatory pathways such as NF-kB and nuclear factor erythroid 2 related factor 2 (or simply Nrf2). Several studies show that by blocking these inflammatory proteins, withanolides can help people who suffer from diabetes, obesity, osteoarthritis, and even neurodegeneration and cystic fibrosis. 
Optimal Withanolides Dosage for Inflammation
Withanolides by themselves are rarely sold as supplements. Instead, you will find withanolides in Ashwagandha supplements. As we’ve seen, Ashwagandha is a herb that naturally contains these compounds.
Depending on the strength of Aswagandha extract, it can contain anywhere between 3%-10% withanolides. More is not always better in this case. The optimal recommended Withanolides dosage in Ashwagandha is 3-5%, which is ideal for helping with inflammation.
Are Withanolides Safe?
Withanolides have quite a few studies behind them. However, they aren’t as researched as their main source, the herb Ashwagandha. Withanolides still need to be studied thoroughly in isolation in proper human studies to determine how safe they are for long-term use, and in what dosages.
There are some concerns that Ashwagandha and Withanolides may have side effects, especially in people who have liver or kidney conditions. If you’re one of them, it’s best to talk to your doctor before using Ashwagandha or Withanolides supplements.
Withanolides are anti-inflammatory compounds naturally occurring in different plants, most notably in Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera).
They have been shown in several studies to inhibit inflammatory pathways in the body – leading to a reduction in different symptoms such as joint pain, gut problems, and neurodegenerative issues.
That said, Withanolides by themselves are not as thoroughly studied as Ashwagandha itself. There is more human research needed to determine just how effective (and safe) Withanolides are for long-term consumption. There is some concern regarding the possibility of liver and kidney strain from using Ashwagandha or Withanolides in high concentrations, although these findings are not conclusive.
As for right now, it’s best to stick to the lower ends of dosage ranges for Ashwagandha supplements with 3-5% Withanolides or talk to your doctor for the best recommendation for your specific situation.
- White PT, Subramanian C, Motiwala HF, Cohen MS. Natural Withanolides in the Treatment of Chronic Diseases. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016;928:329-373. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-41334-1_14. PMID: 27671823; PMCID: PMC7121644.
- Logie E, Vanden Berghe W. Tackling Chronic Inflammation with Withanolide Phytochemicals-A Withaferin a Perspective. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020 Nov 10;9(11):1107. doi: 10.3390/antiox9111107. PMID: 33182809; PMCID: PMC7696210.